Tag Archives: joan

Wednesday 24th May 2023 – I AWOKE AT …

… about 05:55 with the idea in my head of some woman who was dressed in some kind of Eighteenth-Century formal Court dress like someone out of the French Empire. It was such a shock but it awoke me bolt-upright and there was a very uncomfortable feeling for a few minutes as to how this had come about for I remember absolutely nothing at all of what happened, just the image of this woman that had appeared in my head so dramatically.

So as a result, when the alarm went off this morning at 07:00 I was already up and about. Not by much, I have to say, because it took me a while to come to my senses (not that I have too many senses to come to these days) after I awoke.

After I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages the first thing that I did was to check the curry that had been simmering away in the slow cooker over night. It was fairly liquid, more than I expected, so I bunged in a couple of potatoes duly diced and some bulghour and let it carry on simmering.

In case you are wondering what spices I use these days in a carry, there’s cumin (ground as well as seeds) turmeric and coriander of course, and then some hot chili powder, fenugreek and fennel. There was also some garlic salt too, as I always put in if I’m leaving something simmering overnight. I’ve no idea of the proportions of the spices though. I just add the stuff until it tastes right.

Next task was to telephone the doctor. I need some more Aranesp and much more of it too, what with having to take it every week with effect from next week. So on Friday at 10:45 I have to stagger down the hill into town. And, presumably, stagger back too. That’s the bit that finishes me off these days.

Checking the dictaphone next because there was more stuff on there from the night. I’d been left alone in my parents’ house while they’d gone out. I’d been doing a few things like the washing up and tidying up, getting everything ready and then feeding the cats. By now it was sometime really late at night so I thought that I’d just go outside for 5 minutes for a breath of air or something and then go to bed. I went outside and there was plenty of snow around. I was just standing there at the side of the house when almost immediately my parents pulled up. They had one of our cats with them but it was on a lead. Of course it wasn’t my parents in real life. They wanted to know what I was doing and why I was outside. It was very difficult to explain that you’d just go out for some fresh air.

So my family again, and also a few cats. This is becoming rather monotonous.

This afternoon the cleaner has been here tidying up for me. I had a shower before she came so that at least I’ll smell nice, instead of just smelling. And that reminds me – the laundry basket is rather full now so I’ll have to let the washing machine do some washing on Friday while I’m in the town.

While she was doing her stuff I’ve been choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes. Once again we’re back into the obscure artists bit, including a track recorded by someone who was at one time Pete Townshend’s chauffeur.

And I also had a little … errr … relax. The strain of the early morning was rather too much.

By the time that I was ready to make tea, the potato and bulghour had done their stuff and the mixture in the slow cooker was now nice and thick. So I fried a couple of large onions, a few lumps of garlic, the leftovers out of the fridge and then added the pile of stuff out of the slow cooker.

There’s enough for 6 helpings so five of them will be going into the freezer (now that there’s room) when they have cooled and the sixth one went down really nicely with rice and vegetables and one of my naan breads.

Tomorrow I’ll finish off selecting the music and then make a start on writing the notes. But I really need to have a good think about what I’m going to de for my 200th radio programme.

For my 100th, I did an overnight 12-hour rock festival of the various groups and musicians who I’ve encountered on my travels around the Northern Hemisphere but I’m not sure that I’ll be doing the same thing again. Going through the back-up drive I’ve found a few tracks on which I played back in the 70s but the quality isn’t good enough and the there isn’t enough of it anyway.

However, there is always that infamous Colosseum concert. It’s accompanied me on many of my voyages around and about, including the time that I sailed across the Atlantic on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR when I reckoned that I would have plenty of time to remix and re-edit it.

But it was on those voyages while I was trying to re-edit it that I had my strange encounters, firstly with The Vanilla Queen and then with Castor so it’s a concert that has a … errr … certain significance. If it ever does find its way onto the airwaves it should certainly stir up something.

And that’s the idea, I suppose. Life is quite boring these days without being able to go off and make things happen. It’s high time that I made some excitement happen, although I’ve no idea how I can manage it. Finally getting the Colosseum concert onto the airwaves is a good place to start.

Sunday 21st May 2023 – HAVING A LOOK …

… at the timestamps of some of the files on which I was working last night – 03:25, 03:33 etc, it was a very late night. Or more like an early morning. I was still rewriting some radio programme stuff and re-dictating it at some silly hour of the morning.

Consequently, being wide-awake at 10:30 and up and about at 10:45 is really quite astonishing. I can’t even usually do that on a Sunday when I’ve had a GOOD night’s sleep.

Ahh well. Life is full of surprises.

Not that I actually did very much. I have to confess that for at least part of it, I was flat-out on the chair in here instead of working.

Another thing that I did this afternoon as I didn’t feel much like working was to telephone Ingrid and have a good chat. It’s been ages since we last spoke to each other and so we were on the ‘phone for a Rosemaryesque marathon.

She’s not doing so well with her own health problems so we spent quite a long time commiserating with each other.

But the conversation was quite interesting. The subject of “small-town mentality” came up in our discussion.

Due to her father’s work she spent a lot of time as a child in the far-flung corners of the Dutch Empire as a child and encountered all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds.

My own background was exactly the opposite. Small-village, small-town mentality, totally unprepared for what the big wide world had to offer and it was an enormous culture shock when I was 16 and first set foot in the big wild world.

However, how are you going to keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree? I was itching to break away from that kind of mentality and the Big City didn’t work out. I didn’t enjoy my spell living in Manchester in 1974-75, although on reflection I should have stuck it out.

No mistake though about deciding to emigrate. I left all of the negativity behind me and I was glad about that. Life in Crewe was really dragging me down.

It was somehow difficult for Ingrid to understand things like that because she’s never experienced it, but meeting different people from different cultures and background was exciting as a child to her as it was to me when I moved to Brussels.

Thinking about it, there’s still the story about that Burmese girl going round in my head. And on further research, I found that she’d appeared in my nocturnal rambles on a previous occasion, and once again it had been a whole series of recurring dreams on one particular night.

While we’re on the subject of dreams … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. There was something going on at one point but as usual I’ve forgotten most of it. But there was something that made me sit up when I accosted someone and said “this is something that YOU voted for so you can own up and accept the ownership of this sh*tshow. It wasn’t about Brexit either but to do with something personal involving me but, as I said, I can’t remember what it was.

We were talking about Cortinas again last night, all of the Cortinas and bits and pieces in my garages, thinking that it might be the time to start to liquidate everything. People were saying that they didn’t really want anything that’s been lying around rusting in a garage for years. Someone else replied “it’s been lying around abroad and brought back to the UK so that’ll make a big difference”. We went into one of the garages that was heaving with stuff. My mother found a few bags of children’s clothing. She said “here, you can take these to the tip”. She gave me 2 bags, and then gave me a third. I said “I can’t go to the tip if you’re going to give me all of this”. I thought “I suppose I could go in the van”. She said “yes and I’ve seen some more too” and there was another pile by the front door still on hangers so she picked up all of these clothes still on hangers and handed them to me too to take to the tip.

And while we’re on that subject too … “well, on eof us is” – ed … whoever gets the short straw and has to clear out the stuff left down on the farm will have their hands full. But judging by the prices that things are fetching these days, it’ll be worth their while.

In between everything else I’ve been editing the stuff that I dictated before going to bed. I haven’t got very far because I ended up going out socialising. Someone here in the building was having a little soiree so I went for a couple of hours.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m not usually the socialising type but I actually like the people here and we have a nice and friendly little community. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this is the first place where I have ever lived that has felt like home.

Consequently it was a rather late tea and having left the pizza base to fester for quite a while it had risen perfectly and it was another candidate for the title of “best pizza ever”.

Anyway, I’m off to bed in a moment ready for tomorrow. I have a radio programme to finish and the nurse will be round in the morning to give me my fortnightly injection.

And that reminds me – it’s the last injection that I have here so I’ll need to see the doctor some time to order some more. And with having to see the nerve specialist on Thursday I’m going to be having a busy week.

It’ll keep me out of mischief, I suppose.

Monday 8th May 2023 – AND THE ANSWER …

… to yesterday’s question was indeed “not very much”.

It’s actually a Bank Holiday here today when the country celebrates VE Day and strictly speaking I ought to be having a lie-in as I try to do on as many Bank Holidays as I can, but with the threatened arrival of the nurse to give me my fortnightly injection, that’s out of the question.

What usually happens is that when I try to lie in on a day that he is due to come to visit, he usually has a blood test to carry out in the building so he’s here before breakfast. Consequently, we had an alarm set today for 07:00 as usual.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered because when the alarm did go off, I was sitting on the edge of the bed dressing. we’ve had another one of those nights – and mornings.

It was about 08:50 when he came round to give me my injection. And here’s a thing that’s totally unexpected – the database paperwork that he has to keep to record the injections that he gives me is now full.
“What happens now?” I asked.
“I don’t know” he replied. “It’s never reached this stage before”

So clearly I’m continuing to defy all expectations. No-one with this illness has lived longer than 11 years and I was diagnosed in 2015, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall (and I expect that I had it a good while before then) but while it’s true to say that I know all about ill-health, I’m still fighting on. Not exactly fighting fit, just fighting for breath and fit to drop.

With it being a Bank Holiday I’ve had a very relaxing day doing too much of nothing at all. I did finish the radio programme today, as I said that I would, and listened to the one that is to be broadcast this coming weekend but that’s about it.

There’s just one more now that is half-done and I’ll do that this coming weekend. And then I’ll have to start off again. I’m months ahead, which is good news, but there’s always this feeling that some of it will have to be done again as some of these artists can’t go on for ever. I remember back a few years ago in the old “Radio Anglais” days when I spent quite some time waxing lyrical about Chris Squire, only for him to begin to manger les pissenlits par les racines the morning the programme was due to be broadcast.

There was also the stuff on the dictaphone that needed transcribing too. We’re back on the Sherlock Holmes murders again. A couple of people had been struck down in a park by someone dressed entirely in black. There was some woman who dressed herself in black ready to go out just as 2 people were starting to walk on a common in Balham. These 2 people were talking about their past, the girl saying “wasn’t it to this common that you brought such-and-such a girl with whom you used to go out, but she was rather strange?”. The name that they used was the name of this girl. There were police loitering in attendance. They arrested someone dressed all in black in the vicinity of this couple and dragged him away. It turned out that he was actually a mime artist dressed in black ready to perform his act to collect money. As the camera panned to see him dragged away it panned through a figure in black sitting in a café on the common overlooking the events that were taking place

Later on I was going on a coach trip with work for some kind of sports event. One of my colleagues asked me if I went on the previous one two weeks ago to Carlisle. I said no because I had something else to do that evening. While we were waiting for the coach back on this draughty bus station it just didn’t appear. We sat there waiting. There were several tomatoes rolling around, coming and going. One of them came back so I asked it if it had come to pick us up. Someone said “I’ve already asked him and it’s not him” so we sat there and waited. Suddenly I realised that I didn’t have my watch or my key to the office. I’d left them at home. I was wondering what I was going to do. I thought that I’d better take a gamble and go to fetch them. I ran, which was the first time in ages, all the way home to our house in Vine Tree Avenue. All the lights were on. I could hear people moving around. The front door was unlatched so I walked in and ran lightly up the stairs. The taps were all dripping in the bathroom but no-one was in there. My brother was asleep in bed with the light on so I walked quietly in, picked up the key card and my watch that was on the bed, came out and came downstairs again. I could hear my parents in the front room talking about me but I didn’t have the time to stay and listen. I managed to open the door again without making too much noise and set off to run back to the bus station.

It’s a total mystery to me why it is that my family keeps on intruding into my nocturnal voyages. During my waking hours I don’t even waste a minute thinking about them so what’s going on in my subconscious? I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again – after all I invited her into my life for better or for worse, but one of the reasons of leaving the UK was to escape the negativity of everything that was weighing me down and I thought that I’d left them all behind.

But it was interesting to read the bit about “running”, given how I’ve not been out running for a couple of years and I couldn’t do so these days anyway. When we started this programme at University we had all kinds of people recording their dreams, one of whom was a girl who was born without legs. She would tell us that although she’s never walked a single step in the whole of her life (for obvious reasons) she still dreamt about herself going for a walk. So clearly, dreaming isn’t completely tied up with your own personal experiences.

Finally I’d had some issues at work about sick leave, that kind of thing. In the end what I used to do was that at night I’d take a van from work without authority and do furniture removals etc. On one occasion I came back with my Luton Transit. We dropped it off at Zero’s father and began to strip it for spares so we could sell the bits and move on. It wasn’t until we had it pretty much dismantled that it suddenly occurred to me that in the back of it was an old Volkswagen estate, another estate car, a motorbike and lots of other bits and pieces. I’d been using it as a shed I went round to see his wife and said “you’ll never guess what I’ve just remembered” but she told me. She asked me what the plan was. One thing going through my mind was to hire a vehicle, put the Luton Transit on the back and drive al lthe way to France, unload it, drive back and carry on. I said that it would probably take us about a week. If you like, you, your husband and Zero could come along as well. She looked dubious at that point and asked “could it be done in a weekend?”. I replied “we could get there and back in a weekend but unloading it is something else”. She said “the difficulty is with Zero. She could go to her grandfather’s who could take a day off work to look after her but I don’t think that we could do anything else. Are you sure that it couldn’t be done in a weeked?”. I had to describe the journey to her etc. She said “the next question of course is whether we have any money”. I repled “you won’t need any money. Everything will be on me of course”. We had this huge discussion.

Interestingly, I do have a Luton Transit, as regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous versions will recall. I bought it for scrap because I wanted the box off the back to use as a garden shed and it’s still down on the farm 20-odd years later. And there is a Volkswagen estate in the back of it too, albeit in pieces. A diesel estate that was crashed in Spain and which I recovered to use for spares for mine.

And even more interestingly, while I was waiting to take it down to the farm, I did use it around Brussels doing furniture removals at night and weekends. No tax, no MoT, no nothing in fact. But back then in those days no-one really cared. I remember reading the story of Sir Daniel Gooch, Chairman of the Great Western Railway, reminiscing about the experiences of the way that the GWR operated in its early days, and commenting “what would be said of such a mode of proceeding today?”.

And, interestingly, once more as Tom Petty would have it, “HOW COULD I GET SO CLOSE TO” ZERO “AND STILL BE SO FAR AWAY?”. I’m not sure how many times this is just recently that she’s just been tantalisingly dangled out of reach during one of my nocturnal rambles. It seems that I can summon up members of my family at the drop of a hat but Zero, TOTGA and Castor are totally eluding me. And the Vanilla Queen dropped off the radar a long time ago.

Looking back on things, each time that I’ve been up in the High Arctic, and each time I’ve been trying to edit that Colosseum live concert late at night on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR I’ve had a strange encounter with a mysterious young lady of the opposite sex. First there was The Vanilla Queen, and the next time there was Castor. Jamais deux sans trois as they say around here, but the way my health is going, there won’t be another trip out there. 700 miles from the North Pole we were in 2018 and it looks like that will be that. No Rensselaer Harbour, no Thank God Harbour (where my namesake is buried after they poisoned him 150 years ago) and no Fort Conger.

All of this reminiscing probably means that I have too much time on my hands. But nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

So having crashed out here and there, I went for tea. Steamed veg with falafel balls and a vegan cheese sauce. It’s amazing just how different things have become since mainstream French supermarkets are now selling vegan cheese. It’s expensive of course, but it saves me having to bring back a rucksack full every time that I return from Leuven.

Tomorrow is a Welsh lesson of course, so I’m off to bed early. I don’t want to go crashing out in the middle of my lesson. And then I’ll have to pack my stuff ready for Leuven. Three hospital appointments I have on Thursday so I’m going to be busy.

Thursday 13th April 2023 – THE VISITING NURSE …

… came round this morning to take my blood sample, and I was surprised. After all, he’d tried one of my biscuits when he was here on Monday, and he’s still alive. They must be quite good so I’ll have to make some more of them.

Mind you, he wasn’t so good at taking the blood sample from me. I ended up looking and feeling like a dart board. And to add insult to injury, he said that he hadn’t managed to fill all of the three tubes that were required but he hoped that there would be enough for the analysis.

When he turned up, at 08:40 this morning, I was really pleased because I was starving. And so would you have been too had you been up since 04:45 this morning. I’d awoken a long time before that too but just couldn’t go back to sleep.

And so with an early start like that I took full advantage of the peace and quiet by dictating some of the backlog of notes that i’d been accumulating.

While I was on my travels around the internet checking up on a few things that I’d written I happened to notice that the first Hawkfest – Space-rock festivals promoted by Hawkwind to try to recapture the spirit of the early rock festivals of the late 60s and 70s – started on a 19th July some time 20-odd years ago.

By pure coincidence that’s a Friday next year.

One thing that I’ve wanted to do is to dedicate a whole programme to just one group and while that’s not really feasible, I have quite a collection of music from obscure space-rock bands who came to whatever prominence they had thanks to an appearance at a Hawkfest, so I think that I’ll have my own Hawkfest on 19th July next year, if I’m still here

A couple of hours of spacerock would be really nice, but I’ll have to find out who has the recording rights to Nik Turner’s performances with his old group “Children Of The Sun” after he died last year.

Once the nurse had gone, I had a bowl of cornflakes and then set out for town in the rain to pick up my Aranesp. It didn’t take me long to go there and come back, although I was quite exhausted when I arrived back home.

One thing that I didn’t have to do though was to go to the post office. NIkon got back to me this morning to tell me that the old NIKON D5000 can’t be repaired. It’s not been made for years and parts are no longer available.

Considering that I bought it in June 2010 I’m not really surprised, but it would have been nice to have kept it going for longer.

So what do I do now? Mirrorless seems to be all the rage but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we don’t seem to have much luck with the NIKON 1 J5. It’s not strong enough to withstand shocks and being smaller than a conventional camera, the moving parts are smaller, lighter and much more delicate.

Having said that, I do persevere with the Nikon 1 because it fits quite nicely in a pocket and being lightweight, I can carry it around quite easily when I’m doing something else. The quality is surprisingly good but only within its limits and I’m expecting it to do much more than it’s capable of doing.

Armed with my cheese on toast and a coffee I came back in here to carry on working but I just couldn’t keep going and by 13:00 I was back in bed asleep. And that’s no surprise either.

Not that I was there for long, though. The laboratory rang me to say that they needed more blood. Caliburn came to the rescue and we went off there.

Surprisingly, the nurse there found my blood straight away with no drama and it didn’t take long to sort out.

The laboratory is just over the road from But, the electrical houseware supplier, so I went over there. I need a built-in microwave oven to go in the units that I bought in Germany last summer that I’ll be installing in the new apartment.

Another thing that I want is a big fridge-freezer seeing as there’s a nice space there in the kitchen, and so I reckoned that I’d go there for a good look around.

Back here I had my hot chocolate and finished off the last of my home-made biscuits while I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was dictating out the music (do I mean the text?) last night and had it all arranged. The speech had been edited and I was intending to snip it into sections ready to assemble but for some unknown reason I forgot how to do it. I was sitting there for ages looking at the database that I keep, wondering about what I was supposed to be doing to assemble it all to make a proper radio programme. The way it was laid out on the database it just didn’t look right to me at all.

Later on, our mother was keeping us prisoner in our house. We couldn’t go out. We worked out where she’d hidden the key. While we were doing that someone else had worked out a way by which he could open the door but it was long and complicated. he waited until our mother had got up, left her bed and gone out and he began to creep downstairs. Of course we knew that mother would have left her key in her bedroom so we said “you want the third door”. He made a gesture, one, two, three, and started to go downstairs again. We said “no, Clive, the third door” but he carried on downstairs. He didn’t understand that we wanted him to go to the third door on this floor which was my mother’s room where he could find the key just sitting there.

At another point I had plenty of things to do but it was lunchtime and I was being friendly to my colleagues. We were standing around talking and I could see my lunch hour fading away rapidly. But then she invited us up to the 1st floor to have a look at the furniture that she was making in this warehouse. We said that we’d go. Before we reached the stairs she took us to a wall. She pressed a button and a panel rose up. There was an old fireplace that had been bricked up. She asked us to smell by it. We couldn’t smell anything at first but as she closed it there was a smell of varnish. I told her about it. We went upstairs. She had tons of furniture up there including a gorgeous collection of kitchens. We had a good look around here. I thought that there was some lovely stuff. The quality was undeniable but it wasn’t exactly my taste. I ended up spending a lot of time looking at everything to see if there was anything there that really caught my eye.

Tea tonight was beautiful – yet again. That vegan Cheshire cheese that I found in LeClerc a few weeks ago melts really well and with the new dairy thickener that I found there the other day, my cheese sauce was the best that I’ve ever made.

Consequently, steamed vegetables and falafel balls in a vegan cheese sauce it was. I’ll certainly have more of that some other time too. I’m really pleased that the supply of vegan food in mainstream French shops seems to be growing all the time. And not before time either.

So tomorrow I have the physiotherapist coming round in the morning to put me through my paces. I need to be at my best because I have some working-out to do ready to go off to the hospital next week for treatment.

So an early night it is. Here’s hoping that it’s not an early morning.

Monday 27th March 2023 – IT SOUNDS AS IF …

… I’m going to have a visitor here tomorrow afternoon at 14:00.

This afternoon there was a ‘phone call from a painter and decorator. “Is it OK if I come tomorrow afternoon?”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Your landlord says that I have to paint your front door”.

That’s the first that I’ve heard about it and if I wanted to stand fast to my rights and principles I could have told him to clear off as I’m supposed to be given plenty of notice that the landlord or his agents want to come round, but it’s no skin off my nose that he’ll be here.

Not that the door actually needs it. But in fact the door on my new place could do with a good coat of paint and I need to find out the paint code and so asking a painter sounds like a good plan whenever I can lay my hands upon one. And it’s no skin off my nose if he comes here tomorrow.

There’s my doctor’s appointment in the morning and the physiotherapist at the end of the afternoon so as long as he fits in with those plans it’s fine by me.

So I’ll try to plan a decent night’s sleep for once because last night’s sleep wasn’t much to write home about. Even though I was in bed early I couldn’t go off to sleep, which probably isn’t much of a surprise seeing as how late I actually awoke yesterday

And apart from that it was quite a restless night as well, and wasn’t helped by the batteries in the dictaphone going flat at a crucial moment.

But anyway I struggled to my feet when the alarm went off and once I’d dealt with the medication and my mails and messages I attacked the radio programme.

Once again, it was rather a desultory stroll through the work rather than a rapid rush, but it could have taken much longer than it did had I not been lucky enough to have dictated the speech for the final track at almost the exact length required to fit the bill.

And as I always include in the final speech some stuff that I can cut out quite easily that won’t affect the value of the speech in any way, it was even better.

Now, people won’t get to know that the Billy Bremner who was a session guitarist at Rockfield Studios at Monmouth is not the same Billy Bremner as the former Leeds United footballer. But you can’t have everything.

Once I’d finished I listened to the programme and also to the one that I’ll be sending off, to make sure that they are good enough for broadcast and don’t contain any major errors, like talking in the present tense about a musician who has died since I recorded the programme.

It wouldn’t be the first time …

Next stop was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was on one of the little Neva buses with my mother and a third person going to Pionsat. I had an appointment at the hospital there. When we reached the edge of the town we dropped off some passengers at a bus stop and the driver then did a U-turn. We asked where he was going so he said that he was going to Plas Derwyn, a big stately home type of place on the outskirts of the town. He said that they were contracted to provide a service to Plas Derwyn twice an hour. If we were to alight there we could catch the Bus 28. My mother looked at her watch and said “that’s a 25 minute wait and we’ll be late”. he apologised but said that there was nothing he could do. We reached the place which was like a huge children’s holiday camp-type place. My mother and the other person alighted. Just as I was about to alight – I was taking my time – he started to move so I had to shout. he stopped and I eventually alighted. We had to fight our way through all these kids to enter this place. There was some kind of discussion going on between a few of the kids and one of the staff talking about the place being overrun with cats. This teacher-type person said “don’t worry if there are too many things here. We’ll shoot the kids instead of the cats”. She looked at me and said “and here’s a guy who would do it too”. We went in to try to see someone.

And then I was with a woman and a little girl with a dog last night. I had to go to the hospital which was about a 15-minute walk away. I took something with me like a stuffed toy on wheels that I had to rub along the floor backwards and forwards as I went but I don’t know why. This took hours and I thought to myself ‘I’m going to miss my appointment doing this. I’ll forget this cleaning the pavement thing”. I looked around and the girl and dog had gone. I asked “where have they gone?”. The woman replied “she’s gone across the road”. I was really annoyed at this and ran after her. I couldn’t catch her and kept on shouting to her to slow down so I could catch up with her but she was running really fast for a small child saying “we’ll be late at the hospital – we’ll be late at the hospital”. I had the devil’s own job to try to keep up with her

It seems that this trip to the hospital, or, rather, missing the appointment, is beginning to prey on my mind, although I don’t know why because during my daylight hours I’m not bothered at all about it.

Finally I was on a coach tour last night with Shearings as a passenger. As we were going down the road towards Batley (or Bramley – I couldn’t make up my mind apparently) we saw what looked like a miniature narrow-gauge railway alongside the main line. We were told that it was a connector between the town and a wellness centre a couple of miles outside the town, a kind of tramway. Several people were interested at that so we pulled into the town centre of Bramley (or Batley) near the railway station. There was already a coach parked on the visitors’ car park so we went next-door to a yard where there were some kind of lock-up garages. There was a West Indian proprietor and in exchange for fuelling up the coach he let us leave it on his property. We fuelled up and everyone set off to this railway station to look at the start of this tramway. It took me a couple of minutes to alight because of my disability. Then I grabbed my crutches and began to shoot off following them to Bramley (or Batley) Railway Station.

And it seems that my mobility issues are now coming to the fore too.

The rest of the day has been spent sorting out music for future radio programmes.

Having spent a week or so revising my databases into a different way of working, choosing the music is so much quicker these days, and much more logical too. It’s taken me over 200 programmes to end up in a much more efficient way and I bet that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The “frozen pepper” experiment was not a great success. They had frozen nicely but when the one that I’d taken out had defrosted, it had gone all limp and you wouldn’t believe the amount of water that came out. There’s that much water in these peppers, so it seems.

And that got me thinking again – that if I filled it while it was still frozen and then baked it in the air fryer rather than in the microwave, that might dry it out better. I’ll have to try that next week.

So on that note I’m off to bed. It’s a busy day tomorrow with the doctor and the Welsh lesson, the painter and the physiotherapist. However did I manage to find the time to go to work?

Sunday 19th March 2023 – WELL THAT WAS A …

… total waste of time.

It was a beautiful afternoon today, so much so that I had turned off the heating for a while and had the window open, so I reckoned that I’d go out to this Home Exhibition that was taking place this weekend.

It was a long walk – the longest that I’ve done since I’ve been back from Canada – and quite uncomfortable on my crutches, but I made it there all the way without too many problems.

But as I said, I needn’t have bothered. Of all the stalls that were there in this big marquee, there was only one that made any reference to bathrooms. And when I finally managed to speak to the guy in charge, he told me that he had no means of assisting with the installation.

And that’s no good for me.

So anyway, I just came back home. I didn’t even stop for an ice cream.

It was a tough climb back up to here and I had to make more pauses than I otherwise would have done, but I made it back and then collapsed on a chair.

It’s no surprise that I was tired though because apart from the walk into town and back, I’d also had another miserable night, following on the usual pattern just recently.

And despite it being a Sunday I was wide awake at 08:45 and out of bed by 09:30, and it’s not something that happens every Sunday. There have been Sundays when I’ve been lucky to see midday.

After the medication, the first thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone. There were tons of stuff on it from the night. We were having a big argument. I can’t remember very much about it except that it was with some people who were not very well-educated. I had to write out an essay. It was to do with some kind of subject but my life story seemed to fit in there so I was in order of writing my life story. For some reason it had taken me so much time to make a start that I didn’t have much time left so I was doing it as a kind of “cut and paste” but with real paper, a pen and a pair of scissors trying to write it out so I could then cut everything around and fit it into the exam paper in the right kind of order. It was really quite a complicated thing. Then I had to write out the word “seizure” but I couldn’t remember how it was spelt. I asked someone who you spell it. Then I realised that instead I could just say the word “sizes” so I said that there’s no need to bother – I’ll use that instead. Off course “sizes” wasn’t the right word. That was one thing that while I was dictating this I couldn’t think of what words I was supposed to be using in this dream.

And then I was round at someone’s house. They were proudly showing me their anemometer that they had attached to the eaves of the roof of their house. I remembered the one that I used to have at Virlet. I was quite admiring it. They had some kind of set-up in the back, a framework with solar panels etc. I took advantage by fastening a pole to this gantry and putting a wind turbine on it. We went into the house. It was bedtime. I went to bed. All of a sudden this whole framework collapsed. My brother was actually standing next to it outside but he didn’t notice for some reason. I got up to go to see what had happened but immediately fell over because my right knee gave way. Eventually I managed to drag myself off out. They were busy trying to prop it up by driving wooden stakes into the ground with a hammer. I didn’t think that that would do the stakes much good but it was all they had. I had a sledgehammer but it was in the back of Caliburn. Every time this guy had it in the correct kind of place to hold up, my brother would try to adjust it just that little bit more and it would all collapse again. We were fed up of this and shouted at him to leave it alone. There were all kinds of things like bricks there that were separated by little bits of foam to stop the bricks knocking against each other. They had percentages written on them. I worked out that it was some kind of calculator that calculated the percentages for numbers of days in the year. I thought that the only way that this is going to work now is that if they put it back in the right order. But apart from the writing on it there was no way to determine which was the correct order and which wasn’t.

Later on we were on a bus trip in a white Van Hool Alizee taking us all around. I was a passenger. A lot of my family was on it. My mother was there and she was keeping everyone waiting because she always seemed to be the last to turn up. I said to my youngest sister “that will teach you to be born so late in life. If you’d been born before, you wouldn’t have had to wait for so long”. We were all waiting in this park by these iron gates for the bus to appear. While we were waiting there someone who was the guardian of the gates was asleep on the gate. Someone wanted to go out for a minute but they couldn’t awaken him so they just opened the gate anyway and dashed out after their 2 children who’d got out somehow. We all wondered what was going on because no-one had given us any explanation when we saw the woman suddenly dash out of the gates of this park.

Finally, a lot of turmeric had been used in flavouring some green beans that were cooking on the stove in a big pot. So much so that they had gone a greeny-yellow. We were trying to find people who had eaten from here to see whether in fact they’d turned yellow, there was so much turmeric in this cooking pot.

The morning was very quiet. I didn’t really do all that much at all. After all, it is a Sunday and I’m entitled to have a day off once a week.

Lunch was early today and then I nipped out to the Exhibition to make the most of the glorious weather.

Back here, once I’d recovered, I made a pile of dough for the fruit buns. Lots of dried fruit and the like to give it some ooomph. And I made enough dough for a dozen, with the idea that I won’t have to make any for a while. I’ll be just a couple of days short of Easter then when I run out and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I now have some hot cross buns in the freezer for Easter.

But while we’re on the subject of the freezer … “well, one of us is” – ed … I don’t know where I’m going to put the fruit buns that I won’t be eating this week. The freezer is jam-pack full with the couple of bags of carrots in there and I had a real struggle to open the drawers today.

There’s a bit more space in there now though because after lunch I took out the last ball of frozen dough for the pizza and it had been defrosting all afternoon. While my fruit buns were busy proofing, I kneaded the defrosted dough and rolled it out onto the pizza tray.

Rosemary rang up for a lengthy chat about an issue that is ongoing involving one of her friends in the UK. And while we were chatting I baked my fruit buns and assembled my pizza. And when the buns were baked (to perfection) I put the pizza in to cook.

With the oven being stinking hot the pizza was cooked to perfection too and it was delicious. I’ll make some more like that!

With a spare half-hour I dictated the notes for the radio programme so (in theory) it shouldn’t take too long to do the radio programme. “In Theory” because we all know about “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men” that often “gang aft agley” when you are trying to do something.

We’ll have to see how it all pans out.

Friday 10th March 2023 – AFTER ALL OF …

… my exertions yesterday and the day before, discretion was the better part of valour today and I didn’t set foor out of my apartment.

And when you see what THE WEATHER WAS DOING this morning it’s hardly any surprise. Whoever took that video is a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

Last night I was in bed at my usual time and once again I had a great deal of difficulty going off to sleep. However I must have done at some point because when the alarm went off at 07:30 it shattered my eardrums. I’d been dead to the world.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too, none of which I could actually remember so it must have been a really deep sleep throughout the night. It started off with my brother and me in a car or bus or something. We reached the destination where we were going to have to drop off my brother. As he left he was saying that he thought that a certain task of renovation or some chore or other should be done on whatever vehicle we were in. I didn’t particularly see the need for that. In any case I wasn’t going to do it. Basically I told him to clear off. At some point my mother said that I wasn’t nicer to my brother but I told her what I thought of the situation as well

And then we had another one of these dreams where I was working long past my retirement date – quite a regular feature these days. I was completely fed up so I decided that when I’d go back into work on Monday I’d hand in 2 weeks notice and finish at the end of the month whether they liked it or not. There was still plenty of holiday time accruing to me so it would probably make it up to the 4 weeks notice but I didn’t really care all that much. I decided that I was going to retire and that was that. Then I awoke – and I must have been dreaming within a dream because I was actually still asleep, if you see what I mean – and it was 03:15. I remembered that the previous evening I’d been fixing the internet. When I went to the bathroom there was a massage on my phone. It was Liz asking me if everything was working fine. I tried to send her a message back but the keypad on my watch was so small that no matter how I tried I ended up sending some kind of garbled message to her.

And that will come as a surprise to many people because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I can send garbled messages without making use of a small keypad.

And back in this dream later I was walking back up the Rue Paul Poirier back towards home. I heard someone whistle behind me so I turned round. It was one of my colleagues. He beckoned me to cross over the road to him for a chat. I went over the road but I actually awoke at that point and couldn’t remember what went on afterwards. And it’s very rare for me to dream about life in Granville, isn’t it?

Later on I’d had a message from my friend from Munich saying that he was on his way to visit me. It was quite late at night so I texted him to find out where he was. He said that he was just pulling into a fuel station 100 miles away for some fuel. I worked out that he would probably turn up at something like 03:00 or 04:00 and I’d be fast asleep in bed. He said that that’s not a problem. He’d be going to bed too as soon as he arrives

Finally I was bringing a girl back into Crewe from somewhere or other. I was in something of a rush but she said that she wanted to go back into Crewe so I said that I’d bring her. It ended up that she wanted to go up by Coppenhall, that area, which was well out of my way but I had her in the car now so I didn’t have much choice. On the way back we made a detour to go via Shavington because I had a notebook to drop off on someone on Park Estate. When we reached there, instea dof being the 3-bedroomed traditional semis that it is, it was all these horrible appalling dreadful high-rise buildings, the worst slums you’d see. We walked inside and they were dreadful. Everything was filthy and disgusting. We knocked on the apartment. Some woman answered the door. She was covered in cobwebs. There must have been 6 people sleeping in this room with clothes etc heaped up in a mess. The place was filthy. I’d never been in a place as disgusting as this. The person with me gave her the injection that she needed. Then we had to fight our way back out again. It really was the worst place in the world that I have ever visited in all my life and believe me – I’ve been in some places ….

Actually, I found that last episode to be extremely disturbing.

Today, I haven’t actually done all that much. I had a shower, and what was interesting about that was that I didn’t remember getting out of the bath afterwards. It must have been completely uneventful and that can only be good news. It must have been as close to normal as things can be right now.

The physiotherapist came rather later than planned too. We had a lengthy chat and decided that when I come back from the hospital with the report that they will probably give me, we’ll make plans. He’s going to try to get me in at this gym place where they do sports therapy. I had a consultation there last summer, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I was overtaken by events.

And then I wrote some more text for one of the radio programmes. I have quite a nice collection now that I need to start recording at some point in the near future.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and veg. There have been so many special offers on vegan burgers just recently that it seems like I have the European Vegan Burger Mountain in my fridge and a couple of them are starting to go out of date. Consequently some of them need polishing off rather quickly.

There’s stuff in the freezer than needs eating too and I’ll have to deal with some of that at some point. Not the least reason being that there’s other stuff in the fridge that needs using and I could make all kinds of stuff with that if only there was some space in the freezer to freeze it.

There was football on the internet tonight. It should have been TNS against Y Bala but apparently the pitch at Oswestry was under a foot of snow. Instead the cameras went down the road from the studio to Cyncoed to watch Cardiff Metro play Y Drenewydd.

That match finished 0-0 without a great deal of goalmouth action, but it wasn’t a boring match by any means. It was quite interesting with two rather skilful teams trying to jostle their way into position for a shot on goal.

There’s some exciting news on the football front too. Cymru under-17s have won their way through to the next round of the European Junior Championship. There are three games taking place at the end of the month, against Iceland, Montenegro and a third team that I’ve forgotten. And my Welsh newsfeed service has won the right to broadcast them on the internet.

And then the Welsh part-time XI is playing the English part-time XI in a couple of weeks and they are broadcasting that match too.

So it looks as if we are going to be in for a foot-fest at some point. I’d better go to bed for a good sleep in order to prepare myself for all this excitement.

Wednesday 1st March 2023 – THAT WAS A …

… loooooooooooooooooooong day today.

14 hours I was on the road in total, give or take a few minutes. I left my home at about 07:10 and arrived in Leuven at just about 21:00.

Yes, I’m in Leuven. I’ve heard nothing from the heart people and nothing from the people who are dealing with my cancer, but regardless, the kidney people contacted me for an appointment.

Not that I’m all that bothered, because as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, after the events of October and November I’m pretty-much resigned to the inevitable, but I was interested in seeing, as well as I could, how I could cope with the travelling.

And so having gone to bed rather early last night, I was up with the lark at 06:00 and made some sandwiches and so on, and did a little organising.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone last night. My mother was a policewoman last night. She was interrogating a suspect or witness or something similar but was doing it at home. This was dragging on into the night and we as kids couldn’t go to sleep. In the end there was no real point going to bed so we were just sitting up waiting for her to finish. But it just went on and on. We’d go in regularly to ask how she was doing. She said that she wasn’t ready yet. We’d go in to pick a banana or something to eat. In the end one of my sisters went in. My mother said quite sharply that it wasn’t going to be finished before 05:00. This was the final straw as far as we were concerned. That was a ridiculous time for children to be still up and about waiting for their mother to finish her work.

This dream continued later on. We were crying out for toilet paper or tissues etc. Some guy came into the apartment where we were living with his arms full of rolls of toilet paper and just dumped it on the floor in one of the rooms and then left. We kids had to go in there to sort out what he’s just brought and check what we had then organise the bathroom with it.

Plus tard nous avons eu l’idée de reintégrer le chasson dans la famille qu’on a du faire alors le chef s’est adapté assez rapidement et le chat de la famille est poussé en dehos du groupe alors celà a provoqué une investigation comment on a fait commencer et c’est à ce moment-là qu’on a eu la série de la pied d’entre nous

So, a dream in French yet again. And I haven’t translated it because it’s total nonsense that makes no sense whatsoever.

Just after 07:00 I headed for the hills and Caliburn and we drove to the station where I was lucky enough to find a parking space almost right outside the door.

When the train came in, I headed off in the direction of Rennes, but only as far as Avranches where I alighted. Public transport is so messed up here that you end up going all round the Wrekin to get anywhere.

The bus came in at 08:55 and we drove through the snow (yes, the snow!) and ended up in Caen where we had a half-hour wait for the next bus. This was packed to the gunwhales but I found a seat eventually and we roared off to the big underground bus station at Bercy in Paris.

This time a wait of 45 minutes before the next bus came in. This was likewise packed but the driver made sure that I had a comfortable place by the door. We called at the airport and then all the way to Brussels, making a stop at a service station where I grabbed a coffee.

Stuck in the traffic for ages, we eventually arrived in Brussels rather later than planned so I’d missed the train that I wanted and had to catch a later train. The escalator up to the platform wasn’t working so I had a long walk to find the lift.

The train was a push-me-pull-you double-decker and climbing into these proved to be quite difficult as the steps in are quite high. I had quite a bit of difficulty and it was extremely awkward.

Having eaten my sandwiches on the way to Paris, I tucked into my potatoes and lentils on the train and that was a really good plan because they went down a treat.

Leaving the train at Leuven was difficult too but I managed in the end.

The hotel where I’m staying must have been wonderful 100 years ago. It’s certainly seen better days. It’s not one of my usual haunts but it’s right outside the railway station so I don’t have far to stagger. It’s expensive too, hence I’m only staying for two nights and coming home on Friday.

And the verdict?

It’s quite difficult and I’m glad that I did bring two crutches, not just one. When things are on the level I’m fine and I could in theory go for miles but carrying a backpack up hills and steps is quite complicated and I have real difficulty trying to carry a coffee cup too.

At one point I was thinking that I might be ready for another adventure with backpack and airline ticket but having done all this today, maybe I’ll leave it a while before making more plans.

But I got here, and that’s a miracle in itself

Wednesday 8th February 2023 – CALIBURN IS BACK

But not for long. When I went to pick him up this morning I discovered that they had forgotten to take him for his Controle Technique – the French equivalent of the MoT safety examination. The earliest the testing station can fit him in is tomorrow at 11:45 but I wasn’t going to struggle back home on the bus and come back out tomorrow to pick him up again, so I brought him home and I’ll drive him back tomorrow.

Hopefully I’ll have a better night’s sleep than I did last night. I was in bed at some kind of realistic time and was asleep quite quickly but I didn’t stay asleep for long. I was drifting in and out of semi-consciousness until the alarm went off and it would be wrong to say that I was sleeping.

There must have been times that I was asleep though because there were several little voyages during the night when I went off on my travels. There was me, a couple of girls and a young family with a small daughter. I’d cooked tea for everyone and made a big, sickly ice cream for afterwards. I doled out the ice cream between all of us. As I was handing it out I suddenly found out to my horror that I’d forgotten to make ice-cream for the little girl. I had to dash back into the kitchen and took my ice cream from the fridge and speedily divided it into half. I put her half into a smaller dish so it looked as if it was overflowing the bowl the same as everyone else’s and took it to her. Her eyes lit up and she was absolutely delighted by this. That made me feel much better but then I was going around afraid that I might have forgotten someone else’s ice cream. What would I do if that were the case?

And then I was back at work in another one of these recurring dreams where I was on the point of retiring. I had tons of work stored in my cupboard. Someone made some kind of strange remark about “we don’t know what you do all day”. I thought that they’d be surprised if they found out that I did nothing. I was going through some files and found some information about people whom we knew and one or two people who’d actually worked for us, and prison sentences that they’d received, for one person, defrauding an insurance company and another person for something else. We wondered why they had all gone quiet after leaving. There was some old guy in there who’d been sent to prison. Everyone blamed a friend of mine at work because he’d told a fellow to confess everything rather than keeping silent and making them have to prove it. Again it was a case that I could leave this job tomorrow and leave all this work undone and not have to worry about anything. If they were to talk about me behind my back I wouldn’t care.

Later on I was taking my passengers to the station in the yellow Cortina estate. We were driving through Shavington. There was a vehicle parked on the opposite side on the road. Suddenly 2 vehicles pulled out from behind it and I hit them head-on in the car. When I came to I was wandering around the area of Shavington trying to regain consciousness. I went into a big Department Store to buy some clean clothes. The staff was busy trying on a new uniform. They had T-shirts on etc while they were experimenting with these new clothes and weren’t interested in serving customers. Eventually I managed to track down a server who came to see me. I told her that I needed some clothes and needed to report this accident but she started to take me off in her direction where these clothes were

And finally I was in my new house last night, a house very similar to Gainsborough Road. There was a survey being arranged for it to decide whether or not I could buy it. I was already in there so I hoped that the survey was satisfactory. The house was a lot nicer than I remembered anyway. I was busy organising some things that I’d brought with me. I had my mother and father with me. My mother went into a cupboard and asked me to pass her some cheese and pork etc. She asked what I wanted to eat. I replied that I hadn’t yet decided so she told me to hurry up. Then my father came in. He’d been working outside and his hands were dirty. he had some hand cleaner with him that he’d brought. he went to put it down on the windowsill by the sink while he washed his hands.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then did a little tidying up ready for the cleaner. I phoned up the garage to check that Caliburn was ready and then caught the bus out to the garage to pick him up.

he actually started, despite about three feet of frost all over him, so something works, and I headed back to LIDL where I spent a King’s ransom on stuff that I needed for the next few weeks – and forgot the blackcurrant syrup.

Back here I made some coffee and while it was brewing I made a couple of trips down to Caliburn to bring up what I’d bought. And then I … errr … had a relax. I’m clearly not as fit or as well as I think I should be.

The cleaner awoke me when she came, and while she was doing her stuff about the place I paired off the music for the next couple of radio programmes and began to write the notes. And after she left, I fetched the final stuff up here from out of Caliburn, thinking all the time to myself about how much easier it will be when I move to the ground floor.

And that’s taken one step closer to the end today, because I gathered up all of the stuff that I needed to complete these forms about transferring my money for the purchase of the apartment. Hopefully they can now go ahead and create the transfer paperwork so that I can credit the money whenever I receive the final date of completion.

And then the fun will begin.

Tea tonight was another one of my leftover curries. And it was just as delicious as all of the others, although I’m still not sure why the rice and veg is going more soggy that it used to in the past even though I’m not cooking it any differently than I always have.

Tomorrow I have to take Caliburn back and if he passes, I’ll have a little trip to fuel up and go to LeClerc to do some shopping there. Make sure that I have a good supply of stuff on board.

And then probably have a little … errr … relax again when I come home because all of this effort is wearing me out much more than it ought to do. I’m clearly not as well as I should be and I shudder to think how I’m going to manage if they want me to go back to Leuven.

Saturday 21st January 2023 – MY EXCITING LIFE …

… reached its apogee today

there I was this afternoon in the kitchen having a wonderful time cleaning and defrosting the fridge. And it needed it too. I’d had one and a half kilos of carrots in there and they took some finding in all of the frost and ice.

There was some interesting stuff in there too – such as some vegan cream with a best-by date of October 2018. They went straight into the waste bin along with some other stuff and there’s actually some room in there now.

And even though I put the carrots in the freezer in the bathroom, there’s still some room there too. It won’t be long before everything is empty and then I can start again. Mind you, I’ve said that before about the freezer and I’ve not reached that point yet.

The kitchen looks a bit of a mess though, but that’s no surprise. I can’t work like I used to and have to go and sit down for an hour and recover after about 10 minutes of work.

And I’d had a better night last night too. Although it took me a while to go to sleep, I wasn’t disturbed as much as I have been in the recent past.

Just a few trips out and about during the night. I was with my mother at a house somewhere in Shavington. There had been a party and we had been tidying it up. It was in the most appalling mess after the party, glasses and food etc everywhere. I sat down to do the washing up which took me ages but eventually I did it. The whole of the work surface where I had the glasses was like a lake. We then decided that we really wanted to tidy up something else. After a while one thing that we realised that we hadn’t seen was the cat. We called this cat but it didn’t come so we carried on doing other things. Some time in mid-afternoon we saw it outside the window so we went to fetch it. It was shaking. The first thing that went through our mind was that it obviously hasn’t had anything to eat for a while so it’s probably starving. We took it into the kitchen and gave it a handful of cat biscuits but it didn’t seem all that keen on eating them. It wanted attention for something or other. It was still shaking but wasn’t all that interested in eating the cat biscuits so we wondered what was the matter with the cat

And then I was going to Canada on a plane. Before that was a meeting that I had to attend and it over-ran by hours. There was only half an hour left for me to catch my plane by the time the meeting finished. I had to enter the lift at the airport but everything was going wrong. She was calling out floors and stopping the lift but no-one was alighting. I was thinking that I would just be later and later as this goes on. I’m never ever going to recover my suitcase and catch the flight or even have time to make arrangements to catch another one going on the same day. I’m going to be in all kinds of difficulty if I miss this plane.

Finally I was at work. One of my colleagues was like Jon Pertwee, always being involved in schemes and blaming everyone else when they all went wrong. Something had happened at work and he said “it was Eric who did that”. By this time I was fed up for a start so I hit him so hard that he reeled right down the end of the room. I went after him but everyone else stopped me. I went back to my desk. On my way back I walked past my old garden which I had now given to my mother. I’d planted a couple of fruit bushes a couple of years ago. I had never done much with them but I noticed now that the fruit on them was enormous and it wasn’t summer yet. They weren’t ripe. The bushes had groaning under the weight of the fruit and it looked as if it was going to be a really bumper year for the crop.

And so I spent much of the night with members of my family. I wish that I knew why. I can’t seem to shift them out of my subconscious mind and replace them with people whom I’d be so much happier to see.

Such as Liz and Rosemary, for example. When I switched on the computer I found that Liz was on line so we had a chat for about an hour or so to catch up with each others’ latest news. We both have a lot going on right now and we haven’t spoken for a week or so.

And no sooner had Liz gone off than Rosemary rang me for a chat for a while.

Apart from chatting to Liz and Rosemary I didn’t really do an awful lot this morning. I had a wander through cyberspace looking for new things that I’m going to need in the near future and make a little list. But finding what I want at a price that I can afford and which will do what I want to do isn’t very easy.

And then this afternoon I cleaned and defrosted the fridge. It’s amazing how much ice the fridge will make when my back is turned.

There was football on the internet later. A basement clash between Aberystwyth and Caernarfon Town. They have both been struggling for the last couple of months and Aberystwyth have been sucked into a relegation scrap down at the bottom. Caernarfon, for all their midfield stars who would grace any Welsh Premier League Club, have a wobbly defence and have no-one at all in attack,

Aberystwyth were the better side and eventually rattled up a 2-goal lead. And they could have had a couple more quite easily too. Caernarfon didn’t really mount a shot on goal until Rhys Alun Williams scored what will easily be THE GOAL OF THE SEASON to pull one back for a late consolation.

Tea was a burger on a bun with baked potato and salad. My meals are definitely improving even though I don’t have what it takes to go and do a proper load of shopping. However when I’m out and about on Tuesday I might do a lap around Lidl, LeClerc and the Bio shop to stock up with stuff that I need.

And as I’m feeling better and Caliburn is going in to be fixed, I might actually start again to go to the shops every now and again to see what I can do. I have to start up again some time.

But having already almost crashed out twice this evening I’m going to go to bed and I’ll worry about the shops some other time. I’m more worried right now about having a good sleep and a lie-in although if past history has anything to go by, I’ll be lucky.

Tuesday 17th January 2023 – THIS SOCIAL SERVICES …

… visitor who came to see me after lunch wasn’t really of all that much help. She had a chat with me, handed me a brochure and a few notes, and then left again. And so I’m no further forwrd than I was before.

What I was actually hoping was to have been placed on some kind of “at risk” register because I’m not under too many illusions that I’m ever going to be much better than I am and I’m sure that things will continue to deteriorate. I would have expected there to have been some kind of register of people living alone who are suffering from serious illness.

And so it looks as if I shall have to make my own arrangements to secure my own future.

That’s quite the normal situation and so it’s not a big deal from my point of view, but it’s still a disappointment all the same.

Last night was a disappointment as well. I didn’t go to bed particularly early but even so it took me a whole age to go off to sleep. I was certainly still awake at 01:30 or so when I checked the time.

But I did doze off at some point, only to become embroiled in yet another altercation with members of my family. I was busy working on the computer doing something with an old-world programme. My brother just walked up to my desk, opened a drawer, took out my packet of sweets and walked off with it. I ran after him, grabbed hold of it, put it back in my drawer and slammed it shut. He went off telling his mother that I’d pinched his sweets so my mother told me to give them back to him straight away. I told her “what are you on about? I bought these on Saturday night and put them in my drawer” so she had a shouting match with him. I was trying to work out this old program that I used to use years ago but it wasn’t working very well. I was sure that I ought to be doing much better with this than I was but there were just so many distractions.

It beats me why they keep on showing up during my nocturnal voyages. I have many more things that are much more important than worrying about them.

The Welsh lesson with something of a disappointment. Although I was up quite quickly when the alarm rang (for a change) I wasn’t in all that much of a mood to do any revision today. I worked my way through some stuff in order to prepare myself but I didn’t feel much like it and I could have done much better.

After the Social Services had been for a visit I sat down to choose some music for the next series of radio programmes until the physiotherapist came round. he was quite pleased with the progress that I seem to have been making and he’s given me some more hints and tips. That’s nore stuff to work on for the next while.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll, and there’s still some stuffing that’s left over. That’s the cue for a nice left-over curry tomorrow to keep me out of mischief. I hope that it will turn out to be as good as the last couple that I have made because it seems that I have the hang of them now.

Tomorrow the cleaner is coming round so I’ll have to spend an hour or so tidying up the place in the morning to make it look nice. Then I’ll have to go for a play with Caliburn and mak sure that he starts ready for a trip out next week.

If not, I’ll have to think of a Plan B because I have an appointment that I can’t afford to miss.

Thursday 12th January 2023 – I’VE GIVEN UP …

… making a note of the time when I finally heave myself out of my stinking pit because it’s becoming rather embarrassing that all of my energy in this resepct has evaporated. Instead, I’ll try to concentrate on more positive aspects of everything – if I can actually find any.

It wouldn’t have been during the night though. I did my usual awakening at some silly time and then being unable to go back to sleep for hours. I once read someone’s thesis on Medieval sleeping patterns where there was mention of “first sleeps” and “second sleeps” with people getting up and performing tasks in between. I might not be old enough to remember any medieval sleeping patterns – it just feels like it right now.

Plenty of time to go off on a voyage here and there too. Someone was moving house last night and my family from Wardle was going to look after some stuff for a couple of days. Maybe they had some use for it or something. It was a case of bringing some of the stuff out of this house and putting it onto a trailer that would be towed by a van of theirs. First of all they had to go off somewhere so this girl and I stayed behind. We had to start to take the stuff outside but she was taking ages to do the slightest thing. We were going nowhere because she didn’t seem to have any enthusiasm or energy for the task. Eventually they turned up back so we made a better start. The first thing was these 3 enormous plants. She picked up 2 and went outside. I picked up the third but the stem broke quite low down. I thought “I’ve ruined this”. Then it was the case that she was bringing all kinds of stuff out that these people weren’t going to look after. I couldn’t see the point or purpose in doing that. She started to move bit by bit. The place was dirty and dusty, hadn’t been dusted for years by the looks of things. There were spiders everywhere. I thought that this is really not going to be how I would expect a furniture removal of this sort to be taking place. I felt that we were going to be here while she got organised.

Later during the night we were living in one of these families with children from different parentage. My mother was looking after a couple of children for which she was receiving some money per week. One of these children was actually my elder sister. We didn’t get on and we’d had several fights. One of them was really serious so my mother told me that she would send me away. I thought that if this is an issue between the 2 children and my mother has to choose one of them, why is she choosing the one for which she receives money and want to send away her own child. I made quite a big fuss or argument about all of this. I told her flatly that I wasn’t leaving. If they wanted me out of the house they would have to drag me out. Shortly after that my mother announced that she was having to go away. Because my elder sister and I didn’t get on, I would have to stay temporarily with people while she was away and come back later. Again I refused to go because I saw this for what it was, a plan to simply get me out of the house and once I’d gone they would be no way that she would bring me back in it again so once again I refused flatly to go.

And then I was about to be arrested for something or other. I knew that it was inevitable so I decided that I’d go and surrender myself. I was with 2 girls who might have been Alison and Jackie. I was going through all my paperwork with them making sure that they had everything that I needed. I had all my notes there and pointed out that there were other notes as well, the most recent of which were in a carrier bag in Caliburn on A4 paper folded in half. I went down the various phone numbers with them to make sure that they had them all. Suddenly the question of Zero cropped up. I wondered whether I should give them Zero’s phone number. In the end I decided that while one number more or less won’t make any difference so I gave them her number. I told them that if ever they were to ring it up and her father answered, not to speak to her father but to phone back another time because they would only every have one shot at talking to her. I wrote the number down but the pencil was very blunt. The number was very indistinct so I had to repeat it a couple of times. It didn’t really look like how it ended up being written but it was the best that I could do at that moment because I had a feeling that I ought to go straight away and not wait around any longer otherwise things would just become worse.

At some point I was visiting Clause and Francoise. They had some Ukrainian refugees staying with them, including a girl who I thought was quite cute. We were there, a group of us, hanging around until the evening. I had to go. They asked if I would be back tomorrow but seeing as it was 8 hours home then 8 hours back that might have sounded unlikely but I said to myself “yes, why not?”. I arranged to be there for 09:30 which was totally ridiculous. I set off and drove home like the wind, basically turn round and drive straight back again. The idea that I’d spend the night in a cheap hotel in Montlucon never ever occurred to me until I was well on my way back. As I pulled round the corner towards their house it was 09:35. I thought that I’d done really well to arrive like this. As I came to a stop I looked at my watch and saw that it was 08:30. My watch was clearly playing up. I wondered what on earth the time really was and whether they were still going to be there or if they were fed up and gone without me because I was so late.

Finally, I was in Shrewsbury. I had to come home by catching a coach. I boarded this coach and set off. It drove through the back streets at a hell of a pace and out into the countryside. Then it was me on foot escorting 2 people. I was basically having to crawl on my hands and knees with them. I could see that I was becoming slower and slower. It was quite obvious to me that I can’t keep on doing this. I’m going to have to stop. I’ll be lucky if I make it home. I put on a spurt and we climbed up this steep climb. At the top was this most beautiful view of the sea and inland. Everything from this craggy rock. We talked about the view and everything. They asked why the French didn’t advertise this more. I explained “yes, it’s French. It’s ice to visit and French people have the right to see it but they don’t want it to be overwhelmed. There were a few people round as well running around here and there. These 2 people headed off down the hill but I stood there to look around for a moment. There were people who were just letting themselves go, running full-tilt down this slope. I waited for a moment and when it was clear I ran full tilt down the slope too all the way down to the bottom. Then I looked for the 2 people whom I was conducting but couldn’t see them at all. I wondered where they had gone because they were nowhere in my view at all.

But it was interesting that once more Zero was lurking around in the background but something came up to stop her actually making an appearance. It’s been quite a few times now that that has happened and it’s probably a fact of some significance that she has failed to cross the threshold.

It appears to me that what goes on during the night has far more significance than it might appear at face value although I don’t think much of Freud’s ideas. This exercise that we did 20-odd years ago into dreams seemed to indicate that a dream was an episode of maybe half a dozen long-running threads that ran through someone’s subconscious life but what this actually meant, we never found out. The leader of this project graduated with his Master’s Degree as a result of our efforts but we never saw his thesis.

Today was supposed to be a radio day and indeed it was, although we haven’t set any records today – far from it. I hadn’t as much as sat down and warmed up the computer when I had a message “could I do a tribute for Jeff Beck?”.

Of course I can, but I wanted to do something of a difference. Everyone else will be playing his more famous stuff but I know of at least one unofficial recording that took place in a club when he was in an amateur group long before the Yardbirds, another that he did for a more famous rock star long before he was ever famous and also some session work that he did for a group from Bolton that Jimmy Page sent him via his sister.

Consequently most of the day has been spent following all kinds of casual leads from here or there and I’ve ended up with about 15 tracks, including the tracks for which I’d been looking and also a recording of the only track on which he sang when he was with the Yardbirds.

There’s some rare stuff in there, especially the track on which Jimmy Page plays bass and when I’ve finished writing up the notes (I’ve done the notes for 11 of the 15 songs) it will be something special. I shall see if I can finish it tomorrow morning.

In the middle of all of this, I stopped for a shower, seeing as the physiotherapist is going to be coming round later. Getting into the bath was easier today than it has been of late, and also I can get myself back upright from a kneeling position if there’s something on which I can hang on to pull myself up.

Ask me how I know.

While I was in there I set the washing machine going. There was much more than one machine-load to do so I shall have to do a second load in early course. At least the bedding has been washed and once it’s dried it will be ready. I need to change my bedding much more often than I do.

The physiotherapist regulated my crutches for me and then had me walking around the apartment practising for 10 minutes or so. And once I got the hang of how to walk with them it was much better than trying to hobble around. I’ll try to go for a walk tomorrow if the weather is nice – down to the supermarket on the bus and find some mushrooms and peppers. I’m not sure what else I might need – maybe some frozen peas or something. I’ve plenty of carrots, and if I mix up the beans and sprouts, I can keep that lot going for another week or two.

Talking of sprouts, I had some with my slice of vegan pie tonight with potatoes and gravy. It really was delicious and I shall have to make some more of that.

So I’ll go back and dictate the notes for the radio programme as far as I have done them so far. And then see whereabouts I can reach. I have my final track already planned, as well as my final speech, so it’s the bit in the middle that is the issue.

That will take some thought, but not at 23:00 in the evening.

Sunday 8th January 2023 – JUST BECAUSE I …

… didn’t leave my bed until about 11:00 this morning doesn’t mean that I had a really good sleep. Even if I was in bed by 22:30.

It didn’t take me long to go to sleep; that’s for sure, but by 01:00 I was wide awake again. I was sill wide-awake at 05:00 too. Four hours of tossing and turning and wishing that I was somewhere else, without any success whatsoever.

However at some point I did manage to go back to sleep again because 10:30 came round rather quickly after that.

Once I’d finally hauled myself out of bed I had a chat on-line with a couple of people and then paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. It’s high time that I got back into the habit of working again.

Brunch was cornflakes and toast with the last of the mushroom paté from Christmas, and then for a couple of hours I had a little relax where I did nothing at all. It is Sunday, after all, so I’m entitled to have a Day of Rest, even if I have had more than my fair share of those just recently.

Later on, in the absence of anything better to do, I began to write out the notes for the radio programme and I’ve done about half of them right now. What I should have done was to transcribe the dictaphone notes, but I forgot until much later. During the night I was rooting around in the cupboard and came across a giant cat tree built on the base of a rocking chair. My mother was dismissive of it but I took it out all the same, assembled it and put it in the corner of the room. The young male kitten was straight in there fighting his way through everything ready to climb up and into it. The older female found another way in. There they were, both in this cat tree like kings and queens. By now it was Nerina with me. She made some kind of remark but I thought that the cats were clearly enjoying this. They have as much right to live here as we do. If they can have some pleasure out of this thing that’s been in a cupboard then so much the better.

And then I was on the taxis last night. There was usually a job to take where we had to go to Liverpool to pick up some documents to bring back. But this particular night there had been a fire and the job had been cancelled. Then it turned out that one of my distant relatives had died and the funeral was taking place at about 04:00 at Wardle. I wasn’t going to do anything – I ended up sitting through most of the night chatting to Nerina who was in bed. We were discussing everything but it was time for me to go. I’d taken a previous job to Liverpool and had to drop a guy off at one of the railway stations there. She asked me if I knew where the railway station was, if I’d found it. I replied yes because I knew where most of the railway stations were. I laughed and said that it’s a good job that I didn’t have these documents to pick up, wasn’t it? otherwise I’d have been in Liverpool and back again and then gone straight out to Wardle to the funeral. It seemed a really strange and weird time to have a funeral at 04:00 in the pitch-dark. It was raining outside – it really wasn’t the right kind of weather. I’d asked Nerina on a couple of occasions to see whether it wasn’t really 16:00 but she was quite adamant that it was 04:00 so I went to the bathroom and prepared to leave.

I was also off on a road trip in mid-west USA but it was nothing like the mid-west that I knew. I had the camera with me. I came across a small town where there was a lot of building work and road-widening. I thought “hang on – I’ve been here before. I’m sure I have”. As I drove into the centre I wondered whether or not this was the place where I fuelled up once many years ago. I parked the car, got out and went for a walk round to see if there was any interesting things to photograph. I came across buildings with strange statues on the roofs and abandoned buildings from the 18th and 19th Centuries. Then I realised that I didn’t have my camera with me so I couldn’t take a photo anyway. I wondered whether I should go back to the car, fetch the camera, look for this petrol station to see if it really was here and then start again taking a few photos. Maybe go back outside to where the roadworks were and take a photo of that.

Then later we were kitting out an aeroplane to fly out on a commercial run between the UK and mainland Europe. I was busy trying to peel off some kind of old radio from somewhere and install it into this aeroplane. The pilot was watching me intently as I delicately tried to cut everything and unpeel the track bars etc, asking me quite a few questions, none of which were particularly important. In the end I took it off. He seemed to be so pleased. I gave it to him and told him to refit it.

At one point I was wandering around a square in London. It was all to do with the economy and finance, the history of the coffee houses of London in the 18th Century etc. We talked about how Italian banks would buy security and buy each other to stop themselves being the subject of hostile takeovers etc, how business was flowing out of this square now to businesses that were set up on its periphery and outside in the main streets.
Tea tonight was a pizza and I didn’t really enjoy it which was a surprise. It tasted rather differently than some that I’ve made in the past and I’m wondering if it’s maybe the dough that hasn’t kept so well in the freezer.

So with a 06:00 start in the morning, I’m going to go to bed. Hopefully I’ll fall asleep just as quickly as I did last night but that I’ll sleep through until the alarm goes off. With having done some of the notes for tomorrow I’m hoping that it will be rather a quick programme but there is always something that comes up to disturb me.

Thursday 5th January 2023 – I HAVEN’T SET …

… any records today with preparing my radio programme. Unless it’s for the slowest one on record because I haven’t finished it yet. I’m a long way short. Everything is written and dictated and I’m in the middle of editing it.

Actually, I have an excuse for this. And that is that I didn’t leave the bed until lunchtime.

And I have an excuse for that too. Gradually, over the course of the evening the pain in my right foot became worse and worse. And by the time I went to bed I was having stabbing pains in the sole of my foot every couple of minutes or so.

That was disappointing of course because having tidied away all of the paperwork etc yesterday, I could fall into bed without actually having to move anything so I was looking forward to a nice, deep, comfortable sleep.

But this pain kept on going and going. I was certainly still awake at 04:30 because I checked the time, and I was awake long after that too. I’d dozed off by the time that the alarm went off, but only just and I just couldn’t haul myself out of bed.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone, which was surprising, so I must have gone off to sleep at some point. We started off on a Friday evening. I was working in an office and everyone started to go home. A group of people where I’d been working had been passing a box of biscuits around and for some unlnown reason no-one had offered me any. After they had left I went and found a box of biscuits, opened it and saw that it was empty. That was pretty bad newz. By now I was starving so I had a hunt around. Eventually I found a box of biscuits open on someone else’s desk. Just as I took 2 of them someone walked in and said that they were looking for a file. I had to act very nonchalantly and help them look for this file with these 2 chocolate biscuits melting away in my hand.

Later, I was working at a building company, something to do with old lorries. There was a discussion going on about some bungalows being built a few years ago that weren’t built correctly. My mother was going through a few things and showed me a packet of red liquid. I asked what it was and she replied that it had something to do with Morse Code that one of her distant relatives had found and sent to her because they thought that it might be of some kind of historical interest for her. She was interested in having a play around with it. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember at all now.

Finally, I was in Shrewsbury last night driving around, having to dictate some kind of information about the route. These 3 roundabouts near the slaughterhouse were different than all the others because they had been installed in a different programme from a different budget. Of course I was having a laugh about this kind of thing. I was having a quiet 5 minutes trying to transcribe my notes but the vehicle was vibrating and rocking so much that I wasn’t able to do it. I could tell that my ribald comments were disturbing one or two other people in this vehicle. They weren’t happy about the levity in which I was treating the subject of these 3 roundabouts. It was just typical to me that there would be all this strange talk about different budgets for this and different budgets for that, different budgets for something else but they were all in fact doing the same thing

With all of that, the night can’t have been all that bad although when I finally awoke the pain was still there.

Once I’d sorted myself out somewhat, I had a shower. And getting into the bachtub was a little easier than it had been on Tuesday. I think that I must be right about this improvement that I’ve been noticing. It’s not much, and I still can’t walk very far at all, but it does seem to be a little easier.

This afternoon I made a start on the radio programme but had to stop because the physiotherapist came. I mentioned the problem with the foot and he showed me an exercise. And at least, fot the moment, it seems to have worked. Whether it will continue to work is another thing.

He also mentioned that the doctor is planning on coming to visit me again in due course. presumably he’ll be in touch with me.

The Mairie from Virlet has been in touch with me too. They need to talk to me about one or two things and will be in touch with me in due course.

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg. That was quite nice, as usual, especially as I put some chili powder in the tomato sauce. That will put hairs in places where I didn’t even realise that I had places.

Having had a late morning today, I can’t sleep now. It’s actually quite late – or early – and it’ll be dawn shortly. I may as well keep on going though because there’s no point going to bed and not sleeping. There’s always something that I can be doing that means that I don’t have to do it another time, but sleeping would be nice.

We’ll have to see how tomorrow unfolds but as long as I can finish my radio programme I’ll be no further behind than I already am.

Thursday 15th December 2022 – TONIGHT’S TEA …

… was sausage, beans and chips. And how beautiful it was too. I really enjoyed it.

One of my neighbours was going for a walk down to the shops this afternoon and he saw my note on the door so he came by to ask if I needed anything. Of course, if someone is going down to town on foot they can’t bring back very much of anything so a bag of potatoes it was.

At least my desire for chips is satiated for now and there’s enough for tea on Saturday night.

And in other news, I’ve had to make a start in tidying up the apartment as I’m going to have a visitor on Monday at lunchtime. I’ve finally managed to contact the doctor and he’s going to make a house call on Monday.

It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out once he comes round. What he’s going to say and what he’s going to suggest. At least it’s a start, but then again as I used to say back in the 70s when I was attending auctions as a buyer, it’s not where we start that’s important, it’s where we finish.

And to tell the honest truth, I’m probably finished already.

While we’re on the subject of finishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … I finished early last night and was in bed quite promptly looking forward to a good sleep.

Not that it worked out that way because I still had to leave the bed to go for a stroll down the corridor, and then apart from that I went off on quite a few little voyages during the night. We were living in Shavington and it was all quite primitive. We only had a cold water tap in the downstairs sink so I was trying to work out how I could make some kind of hot water tank underneath the sink with a candle to heat the water. I had a rough idea in my head but but it wouldn’t be particularly good. I spoke to my brother and said that maybe we ought to give it a go. My mother and my sister had been out somewhere. They came back in. We’d been watching a cowboy film but they switched over to watch The Clitheroe Kid. Then the two of them were in bed and were fighting over a sandwich that my sister was trying to eat in bed so I said something like “fancy swapping the TV over on our programme and then not going to watch it”. She said that we could swap back. It was right at the end, a Western something similar to one of the EL DORADO trilogy of films where the fight was over and the young boy was leaving. A young girl who had obviosly been close to this boy was practically in tears about him going but he said that he had to leave. “We’ve had 3 or 4 years of good times but it’s time to move on”. She was totally distraught about the whole idea of him leaving and rather than it being a happy ending it was a really sad, dramatic one. Even in my sleep I could feel how powerful the ending was.

Later on I had some money so I was going to invest it by buying a property in PIonsat, some apartments but it had to be a good quality apartment (not that there’s anything quite like that in Pionsat). I didn’t want to buy any old rubbish. There were several decent buildings in the town so I had a wander around and ended up at the bank. That was almost fraught because there was a traffic hold-up and a lorry decided that it would reverse down the High Street, nearly knocking me over as I crossed the road. In the bank I had to queue. It looked as if someone had forgotten his carrots but he walked off without them so I asked the guy in front of me if they were his. He said “no”. It was then my turn and I started to chat to this girl. This guy slipped a piece of paper “I know all about you” it said. “Don’t do it”. I asked “what on earth is this about?”. He said that someone chatted up a bank cashier and ended up meeting her in an alleyway and finished by murdering her. I said “I don’t remember this”. He replied “no, it was in 1968 so just you be careful”. I couldn’t understand what this guy was talking about. He was clearly not in the same world as the rest of us.

And then it was this summer and I was deciding to go into work very early, having spoken to someone who worked the early shift once this year. It would start at about 05:45 that meant that I would be in there by then. Of course my mother threw a fit, saying that I was never at home to help out. I told her that I was at home 24 hours per day 7 days per week except when I was at work, and going to work was normal. We had quite a row about it. When I arrived at work, rather than find the place empty there was someone around sticking up posters about the Roman excavations taking place in the wood. I was expected to go to work on some kind of bricklaying supervision. I tok myself out and was watching these bricklayers work while I was supervising this little group that I had with me. I felt that I was talking to myself all the time about what these bricklayers were doing. I thought that these few people here must have thought me totally crazy. When I concentrated on the work I found that we had a dip in one of the courses, a quite bad dip. There was no way that it could be rectified and we were going to have to take it all out again. There was one woman from work whom I came across as I was on my way into work who was sitting in a chair at the side of the road. She said “hello” to me so I said “hello” to her and didn’t think anything of it. Then I saw in the paper that she’s actually been in prison and was on some kind of rehabilitation course so I don’t know what she was doing at that particular moment, just sitting by the side of the street saying hello to passers-by unless it was part of her rehabilitation.

As you might expect, we have the family back in the equation but none of my favourite characters. That’s something that I find quite depressing.

When the alarm went off, I was in no mood to leave the bed. In fact if I hadn’t had to go down the corridor one more time I’d probably still be in there now.

Having slowly come round, I made a start on the radio programme that I wasn going to do, but my heart wasn’t in it. It took me much longer than anyone could ever imagine to complete it, not helped by crashing out on a couple of occasions and then a break to call the doctor.

When my neighbour called, I was fast asleep yet again. That seems to have been the story of my day, but I’m glad that he awoke me because tonight’s tea really was delicious.

After tea I had a long chat with Liz on the internet where we put the world to rights for a good while.

So right now I’m off to bed early again, in the hope that one night at least I’ll have a really good night and a good sleep to go with it. And if one of my three favourite young ladies could come and keep me company, then so much the better.